IPoster: Gas Permeable Contact Lenses and Water Exposure - Practice Patterns of a Sample of American Academy of Optometry Members

Purpose: To investigate the practice patterns of current practitioners regarding water use and gas permeable (GP) contact lens care and perceptions of how water impacts infection risk.

Methods: A branched-logic electronic survey was administered to 1808 current members of the Cornea, Contact Lenses and Refractive Technologies section of the American Academy of Optometry. Statistical comparisons were calculated using Chi-Square analysis.

Results: The survey was completed by 146 individuals (8%). Contact lenses were fit by 93% of the sample, and of those, 94% fit GPs. Rinsing GPs with tap water in office was reported by 57%, but only 35% report rinsing GPs in front of patients. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed educate patients to avoid rinsing GPs with tap water. The most common solution type for corneal lenses was a two-step system (39%) with peroxide being the most common for sclerals (52%). For storage cases, 50% recommend no water use when cleaning storage cases and 88% recommend a replacement schedule, with 82% of those listing 1-3 months as the optimal replacement interval. Practitioners who reported rinsing GPs with tap water (n=65) were more likely to report that this behavior has no effect on the risk of infection compared to those who reported not rinsing with water (n=45) (p < 0.001). There was a similar relationship regarding risk perception with distilled water (p=0.01). When asked about GP solution instructions, 75% reported that manufacturers should consider modifying the rinsing step instructions. Those who reported avoidance of GP tap water rinse were more likely to support modifications to product instructions (p < 0.001).

Conclusion(s): Practitioners perceive that rinsing GPs with tap water increases the risk of infection and also report that they educate their patients to refrain from a tap water rinse. However, a disparity exists between risk perception and clinical practice, with over half of those surveyed rinsing GPs with tap water.